Jenny McCarthy writes op-ed in honor of World Autism Day

04/03/2008 at 01:00 PM ET

JennyandevanSince learning that son Evan Joseph, 5 ½, has autism, actress Jenny McCarthy has made it a personal battle to make sure that everyone is aware of the brain development disorder.  Jenny has even written a book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, that depicts the highs and lows of raising her son. 

In honor of World Autism Day on Wednesday, April 2nd, the 35-year-old wrote an op-ed for CNN, discussing Evan’s recovery from the disorder.

In light of the recent Hannah Poling decision, in which the federal court conceded that vaccines could have contributed to her autism, we think the tide is finally turning in the direction of parents like us who have been shouting concerns from our rooftops for years.

Autism is a debilitating disorder, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is suffered by 1 in 150 kids, making it more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Recently, England and Ireland reported that autism is affecting one in 58 individuals. Is it any wonder that autism has become many new parents’ No. 1 fear?

We’ve met some of the most amazing moms and dads who are forging their own path to prevention and recovery. When our son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism we were lucky enough to benefit from their knowledge and experience. Evan has been healed to a great extent by many breakthroughs that, while perhaps not scientifically proven, have definitely helped Evan and many other children who are recovering from autism.

Continue reading for the rest of Jenny’s op-ed.

There are some who wonder what we mean when we say "recovering" from autism. They confuse the word recover with cure. While you may not be able to cure an injury caused in a terrible car accident, you can recover; you can regain many skills that you once lost.

In the case of autism, we think there are treatments that often bring about such healing, so that the observable symptoms of the condition no longer exist. Even though we may no longer see any symptoms of autism, we can’t say a child is "cured" because we do not know what they would have been like had they never been injured.

We believe what helped Evan recover was starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines. Once Evan’s neurological function was recovered through these medical treatments, speech therapy and applied behavior analysis helped him quickly learn the skills he could not learn while he was frozen in autism.

After we implemented these therapies for one year, the state re-evaluated Evan for further services. They spent five minutes with Evan and said, "What happened? We’ve never seen a recovery like this."

Evan is now 5 years old and what might surprise a lot of you is that we’ve never been contacted by a single member of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or any other health authority to evaluate and understand how Evan recovered from autism. When Evan meets doctors and neurologists, to this day they tell us he was misdiagnosed — that he never had autism to begin with. It’s as if they are wired to believe that children can’t recover from autism.

So where’s the cavalry? Where are all the doctors beating down our door to take a closer look at Evan? We think we know why they haven’t arrived. Most of the parents we’ve met who have recovered their child from autism as we did (and we have met many) blame vaccines for their child’s autism.

We think our health authorities don’t want to open this can of worms, so they don’t even look or listen. While there is strong debate on this topic, many parents of recovered children will tell you they didn’t treat their child for autism; they treated them for vaccine injury.

Many people aren’t aware that in the 1980s our children received only 10 vaccines by age 5, whereas today they are given 36 immunizations, most of them by age 2. With billions of pharmaceutical dollars, could it be possible that the vaccine program is becoming more of a profit engine then a means of prevention?

We believe autism is an environmental illness. Vaccines are not the only environmental trigger, but we do think they play a major role. If we are going to solve this problem and finally start to reverse the rate of autism, we need to consider changing the vaccine schedule, reducing the number of shots given and removing certain ingredients that could be toxic to some children.

We take into account that some children have reactions to medicines like penicillin, for example, yet when it comes to vaccines we are operating as if our kids have a universal tolerance for them. We are acting like ONE SIZE FITS ALL. That is, at the very least, a huge improbability.

Even if the CDC is not convinced of a link between vaccines and autism, changing the vaccine schedule should be seriously considered as a precautionary measure. (If you would like to see some ideas for alternative schedules, check out http://generationrescue.org.)

We wish to state, very clearly, that we are not against all vaccines, but we do believe there is strong evidence to suggest that some of the ingredients may be hazardous and that our children are being given too many, too soon!

Evan’s dad is actor/director John Asher. Jenny’s boyfriend of two years, actor Jim Carrey, also plays an important role in Evan’s life.

Source: CNN

Thanks to CBB readers Christine and Kate.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized

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Tracy on

Every time I read something about Jenny’s views on this subject I gain even MORE respect for her!

For someone who does not have children just yet, it is very comforting knowing that she is putting the word out there for all to see, those of us that probably wouldn’t realize we could help prevent this for our children.

Bravo Jenny, Evan & Jim! Keep up the great work!!!

Which vaccine specifically does she advise against?

Tracy on

I can not even begin to describe how heartwarming Jenny’s continued presence in being the voice for all of us mothers and fathers who are struggling with Autism in our children. Not sure if anyone here saw her on Larry King last night or not, but she (literally!) called bullsh*t on the pediatric medical representatives on the show. I nearly fell off of my couch! As a sidenote, she also announced that she and Jim Carrey have organized a March against Autism in DC on June 4th. As the mother of four, with my two youngest sons as diagnosed “Autistic Spectrum boys”, I can assure you that our family will be first in line for that march! The world needs to hear us, and Jenny is allowing that to happen. Bravo!!

Mallory on

I love when celebrities use the power they have to raise awareness.

tink1217 on

way to go Jenny! I love this woman!!! I do believe babies are given too many vaccines in too short of a time. Those that may be genetically pre-disposed to autism don’t stand a chance!! I know its a huge debate, but I firmly believe my son had a reaction to his MMR which led to his problems. Especially since when he had his was before the whole mercury/thimerosal fight. So, there may still have been thimerosal presesnt. Regardless of that…there is just no denying the possible links anymore. Especially with the recent court decision.

Candace on

My heart goes out to families who have beautiful children who suffer from austism. Jenny made some very interesting points. I can imagine it would be such a relief if it were a simple thing, like changing the vaccine schedule, that would help prevent autism.

Jeanette on

Way to go Jenny. Bravo. I am proud of your stand on behalf of your own family and on behalf of those parents who wish they had as an effective vehicle for their message as you do. Your message is clearly heartfelt and informed.

tiff on

I had already begun to think of alternative vaccine schedules for any future children I have. I didn’t know where to start until now. Thank you, Jenny, for providing a resource that could save a child of mine from vaccine injury.

Lauren on

The vaccine she is talking about is the MMR. It used to be given sepertaly but its now mixed with Thymirisol (I dont know the correct spelling) which is a mercury based bonding agent. Many parents of autistic children believe it was the mercury that triggered the change. I opted out of the MMR shot for my daughter because I couldnt shake that feeling that something bad was about to happen. They are combining more and more shots to lessen the number of needles in the kids but at the same time they are increasing the ingredients. Many schools are also understand the reasoning behind many children not being vaccinated. It needs to be addressed, but too many people are afraid of the issue.

Melissa on

What a great speech! She is doing a great job, who would of imagined ten years ago that Jenny would be where she is now? She is a great mom and i am glad she is trying to bring awareness to autisim.

maz on

my mum still had my sister vaccinated with the MMR jab, i would also have my child vaccinated. In my view people who write about autism and links with the vaccine and its effects dont seem to recognise that if your child has autism its not the be all and end all. More research is needed as with any medication

Kelly on

Jenny, you are awesome! Thank you for all that you do!

Lauren on

Maz, you right, more research IS needed, and thats what these parents are asking for. Its the drug companies and the government that are unwilling to do the research and figure out what the problems are. No one is saying NOT to get the vaccinations, they are saying that the companies need to work with them to figure out what is safe. Sadly, many people are pointing the finger at the parents for making such a big deal out of it when its the big companies that REALLY need to step up and figure out whats happening to our children. Maybe this can all be prevented and our children can still be vaccinated but parents cant do it alone.

Lila on

WAY TO GO JENNY! I love how she has brought awareness, especially to a Mom like me who had no clue. And Lauren, I am with you 100% on feeling like if I get the second MMR vaccination (my kids got the 12 month one because I didn’t know) that something horrible would happen. I feel like I owe the world to Jenny for making us aware, like she saved my beautiful babies from danger. WAY TO GO JENNY, WAY TO GO!

Jenifer on

I wanted to say that my son has autism. Despite what Jenny McCarthy says, he does not “suffer” from a “debilitating” disease. He is a wonderful, intelligent and funny little boy. I think more effort should be made into accepting neurodiversity as opposed to trying rid the world of autism.

Tiff on

I’m sorry i think autism is a genetic disorder, which is what the ruling also acknowledged: it was the combination of her genetics and all the vaccines that some moronic doctor gave her in one day.
because of vaccinations, we no longer have to worry about children dying from polio and smallpox. those are debiliating diseases. autism is not a death sentence. i happen to know a woman with a grown son with autism. he is almost 30 years old and a police officer. she taught him to socialize and take care of himself.

now, i am the first person to say that doctors are not god (why is there a chicken pox vaccine? it is better for children to get it over with) and i have never had a flu shot (for what?), put my parents and grandparents lived through the eras with the things we vaccinate for. my family has many a story of babies dying from those diseases. but hey, let’s postpone vaccinations during children’s developing years and let those diseases become prominent in the united states again.

For the record, i don’t think autism is on the rise, i just think we able to put a name to certain symptoms now. It didn’t come out of the blue.

Meaghan on

My brother has autism and literally started showing signs a couple of days after he received the MMR vaccine. That was in the 80’s.

tink1217 on

maz, I have a child with autism and many other problems that all came about when he had the MMR vaccine. It has been the be all, end all for my family for many years. Lots of heartache and therapy and dirty looks from strangers at the way my child was acting along with the numerous doctor and ER visits. Until you go through it you have NO IDEA!

tink1217 on

Tiff, not every child with autism will have the capacity to be a productive member of society (or a police officer). It just doesn’t always happen that way. Severe cases of autism cannot be cured or managed enough for a child to grow up and become anything. My son will never hold a job or live on his own. Not just because of autism, but because of brain damage due to the fact he went into cardiac arrest and did not breathe for at least 5 minutes. This all came about at the time he had the MMR. Coincidence? I think not. He was a perfectly healthy baby up until then…meeting milestones and growing right on schedule.

lydie's mom on

If it’s the mercury, why are the rates of autism still rising in countries where they took the mercury out years ago?
If it’s the mercury, why are children who are later diagnosed with autism found to make less eye-contact in infancy?
My heart breaks for the parents, but it’s not the vaccination. We’re going to end up with children dying of preventable diseases because of some really dangerous and scientifically-weak thinking.
Fact-Autism rates are rising at the same rate at which rates of diagnoses of retardation are dropping. We’re getting better at dianosing.

Elyse on

“With billions of pharmaceutical dollars, could it be possible that the vaccine program is becoming more of a profit engine then a means of prevention?”

I absolutely could not agree more. Just look at all the drugs that are being pushed to adults today, of course kids should be put on that band wagon too.😦 I think the pharmaceutical companies have WAY too much power over us. I don’t think it is any coincidence that Autism has suddenly become such an epidemic. More research needs to be done to find out the cause.

I applaud Jenny for being such an activist on this subject!

D on

I’m sorry, but I do not believe that Jenny’s son ever actually had autism – just as she is being told by doctors now. He was obviously misdiagnosed. She has spoken of him having seizures when he was diagnosed and that is not even a symptom. I think she should be careful what she preaches about recovery because her son is soooo not the typical case. Parents of children with autism should NOT compare their situation with hers.

Kristen on

I do believe that there are “symptoms” of autism that can be improved because I have seen it in my own son.

However, I cannot and will not ever see my child or his challenges as a “disease” a “tragedy” or a “debilitating condition.” My son did “destroy my dreams” “destroy my family” “plunge my family into an abyss” or any of the other things that the popular media likes to spout off.

The dollars working with my son costs me are worth it. They’re my issue and they’re not contributing to the national financial burden any more than stupid people spending money on stupid things do.

I resent this wording. I resent organizations like Autism Speaks that run slick commercials showing us just how much autistics cost society. Hitler ran ads that showed just how much disabled people cost Nazi Germany – and used it as justification for the lethal injection of disabled children.

I don’t want a prenatal test that will allow autistic people like my son to be aborted.

I would hate to see such a beautiful mind blotted off the face of the planet.

I do think people should work with their autistic children. But accept them for who they are and work with them, just like you work with your dyslexic child, your child with learning disabilities or a congenital defect.

Don’t go with organizations that try to “cure” your child and remind you constantly what a tragedy they are.

tink1217 on

lydiesmom, I don’t think what we are saying is that is in fact just the vaccine. Children who are genetically pre-disposed to autism who receive certain vaccines at a certain rate are more susceptible to developing autism. Something “triggers” the autism. There is much needed research. That is why Jenny is so important.In the way Christopher Reeve fought for stem cell research, Jenny is fighting for vaccination reform and research. Nobody is saying kids shouldn’t get vaccinated.

Also…retarded and retardation are very outdated words. My own son’s pediatrician doesn’t even use those words anymore.

tink1217 on

well said Kristen

Miranda on

Tiff, the chicken pox vaccine is out there (in part) to prevent congenital varicella syndrome, which I have. Varicella syndrome happens when foetuses get chicken pox through their mothers. Chicken pox attacks the nervous system, so affected foetuses (depending on their gestational age when infected) may be spontaneously miscarried or else born blind, deaf, mentally retarded, learning disabled, and/or with missing limbs or patches of skin.

I was lucky, as I was infected at thirteen weeks’ gestation. I was thus old enough to not only survive, but only have numb patches of skin and abnormally kinky blood vessels in my eyes. I also have cyclic vomiting syndrome and incompetent esophageal and nasal sphincters, which are much more devastating, but we aren’t absolutely, 100% sure if these are related to the varicella syndrome… though we feel it’s probable they are.

Please, please don’t perpetuate the myth that “chicken pox is harmless”. It’s not, especially for unborn babies.

zaraB on

I think it’s brilliant that Jenny is using her celebrity status to speak out on such an imporant issue, and help raise awareness, as so many people seem oblivious to the potential harm that many vaccines can cause, and most doctors will still insist that there’s no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, which clearly conflicts with what so many parents have witnessed first hand with their own children.

“With billions of pharmaceutical dollars, could it be possible that the vaccine program is becoming more of a profit engine then a means of prevention?”

Absolutely – profit is all the pharmaceutical industry has ever been motivated by. My family and I are currently trying to raise awareness of the dangers of the sleep medication, Stilnox (Ambien in the US / Stilnoct in the UK) which killed my youngest sister last year. Our petition can be found here if you’d like to sign it – http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stilnox/

More people need to speak out against the incresing control the pharmaceutical industry has over our lives, and the insidious methods they employ in order to gain greater control over every area of our lives.

I think Jenny’s story is incredibly touching, and also commend her for all she’s done to improve her son’s condition. I truly believe that mothers know best, but it doesn’t surprise me that she’s had such a poor response from the medical profession.

Keep up the great work Jenny – you’re an inspiration!

christina on

I just wanted to comment on D saying that Jenny’s son is not a typical case and should not compare their situation to hers…..As a child with autism I have learned that you can’t compare your child to anyone else’s child with autisim. autism is different for EVERY child , there are a multitude of symptoms. No two autisic children are the same
they may have some simialr traits but they are not the same . This is way autisim is so hard to “recover” from there is no set path for treatment. Jenny’s story is just another suggestion to coping with autisim she didn’t write it to have you compare your child with hers.

Tracy on

D – One of my sons is recovering from Autism, just as Jenny’s son did. There was no misdiagnosis for us, I can assure you. With INTENSIVE therapy (OT, speech, home intervention, etc), change in diet, vitamins like Omega 3, etc., our child has gone from a developmentally delayed (no speech, no eye contact, toe walking, stimming, constant meltdowns, etc 3 year old) to a nearly 5 year old mainstreaming into “normal” kindergarten. He will never be cured, is still very much quirky, but is no longer locked away by the walls Autism puts up. It’s simply not fair for you to take hope away from families who may be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how big or small. Autism is a SPECTRUM disorder. It can range from severely handicapped to brillant people with incredibly high IQ’s. Lumping everyone into a misdiagnosed or hopeless category is simply unfathomable to me. Perhaps I’m just a half-glass-full kinda girl … even with TWO children on the spectrum!

Tracy on

Also D –
Seizures ARE a common trait among those with Autism. Food allergies and exzema are as well, just to name a few more. I really wish people would educate themselves on Autism prior to making comments out of ignorance that seem hurtful in my opinion to both me and other families coping with this.

Lilybett on

I hope more research goes into these vaccines and they isolate which or whatever may be causing autism… but I can only hope that doesn’t stop mums from immunising their children in general and not just with this specific vaccine. I think THAT could prove more dangerous and even fatal for more children if we let diseases we’ve erradicted mutate or slip back into the population.

Renee on

I agree Lilybett. I wish Jenny had thought abou that before she posted this message.I can’t say I agree with her.

Mel on

I have a vaccine-injured child. I would gladly take chicken pox over autism. Jenny is NOT talking just about the MMR. It does not and has never had thimerasol. It is important to not spread incorrect information. That is the entire problem. Parents need to be able to make educated informed choices. Jenny is NOT anti-vaccine, no parent is. She wants vaccines to be SAFE for ALL children, not just the majority, BUT ALL. It is easy to say otherwise, if you are lucky and your child was immunized and was not injured. But, if you are in my shoes, you feel like your child is collateral damage and it is terrible feeling. If I had of only spread his vaccines out instead of giving 7 at once, I will always wonder if I could have spared him the suffering. I don’t want disease to spread but I can tell you this, right now autism affects 1 in 150 children, 1 in 94 boys. Is your chance of getting measles 1 in 150? And, if you got it would it cause a life-long injury? That is Jenny’s message. Make the vaccines safe for ALL, plain and simple. We don’t want any other child or parent to have to suffer like we have. Nobody deserves that. And, yes, autism is genetic based but you CANNOT have a genetic epidemic. It isn’t scientifically possible or humans would be mutating in front of our eyes. But, there is a genetic disposition to the environmental trigger (vaccines, environmental toxins, etc.) God Bless Jenny McCarthy! Because of her, maybe my son will continue to get better and your children will receive safer vaccines. That is win-win for everyone.

Rachel on

There were just studies done in California released (maybe a couple of months ago) that showed that despite thermisol being removed from shots the rates of diagnosed autism (I say diagnosed because that’s what it is — doesn’t mean it wasn’t always there, it’s just more easily and readily diagnosed these days) have continued to rise.

There is also a country and I will have to look it up where the rates have continued to rise despite the fact that thermisol was removed from vaccines years ago.

Do I think that vaccines have nothing to do with autism? No. I do however think that a child with autism will eventually develop the symptoms regardless of what you do to try to prevent it. I personally agree with the theory that it is the shots themselves that cause the downslide and not what’s in them. The theory is that a child with autism often develops typically until they go through a point of trauma — a major illness, injury, or experience (example = vaccines) — and then they slip into the depths of the condition. And I also certainly do think that autism is a disorder with genetic components. I know a family with 5 children, 3 of whom have been diagnosed with autism… nothing anyone can say would make me believe it’s by coincidence.

I do think that vaccines should be stretched out and that some of them aren’t necessary at all, but I think it’s up to the individual parent to decide on the plan of action there.

Katie on

Mel,
Your chances of getting measles now are not 1/150 even if you’re not vaccinated because everyone is vaccinated around you. It’s called herd immunity. However, if parents keep perpetuating these lies about MMR, more people will not get vaccinated and you can bet the chances will go up. Before vaccinations, a child’s likelihood of getting measles was almost 100%. Also, mumps can cause lifelong problems and rubella causes SEVERE birth defects. Vaccines are a blessing. It’s the best thing that a person can give to their child.
And there have been many studies done about this. The incidence of autism in children vaccinated is the same as the incidence in children not vaccinated.

Marla on

i’m not going to debate the causes of autism b/c no one truly knows. i will however, address some of your comments b/c as the mother of an autistic son, i have valid ground on which to stand.

when i read flippant remarks from people who have no idea about which they speak, i become completely unglued. maz, your comments indicate to me that you are not only ill-informed, but you also lack tact and empathy. if you spent a week living my life, shuttling your 2 year old to 30 hours of different therapies (yes, 30), then you’d rethink your comment.

i agree completely with the other moms, jenifer and kristen in particular, that we need to embrace differences in children and accept them, wherever they are, whatever label that someone attaches to them, recovered or not.

and to lydie’s mom, the decrease in diagnoses of mental retardation, or whatever term you want to call it, still CANNOT explain the fact that 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed 10 years ago and now, 1 in 150. it is an epidemic. period.

mothers of kids with autism are warriors who wake up every day and fight for their children, trying to pull them out. of course i love my son. but it is exhausting.

Kat on

I do have to say that my best friend is a pediatrician, and her biggest pet peeve is when parents come in and say, “Jenny McCarthy says…”. And now there are a bunch of unvacc. kids running around based on blurbs in US magazines.

I think it’s great for parents to be inquisitive and informed and ask hard questions about the health of their child, but find a doctor that will inform you, not a celebrity in my opinion.

tara on

I admire her for raising awareness to Autism but I wish she would not compare it to childhood cancer, AIDS, or diabetes.
The latter diseases can result in death.

zaraB on

The problem, Kat, is that drug companies have such a strong influence on the prescribing decisions of doctors these days, that a lot of doctors can’t be trusted to give you a balanced opinion either.

Jenny McCarthy is not just a celebrity lending her name to a cause – she actually has a son with autism, and has obviously spent a great deal of time researching the facts for herself, so I think in many ways, that probably makes her more informed than many doctors, who have to keep up with all the latest research on a huge number of conditions and couldn’t possibly be fully abreast of every piece of new research on every health issue.

I think that whether you’re pro or anti vaccination, the most important thing is to do your research, so that your decision is an INFORMED one.

Lisa on

It’s not just the mercury in the vaccines there are many other toxic ingredients including aluminum, formaldehyde and antifreeze that can cause damage. I think it’s ridiculous to say that it’s simply gone misdiagnosed until now- 1/150 kids have it, 1/94 boys! It’s an epidemic. The mothers with autistic children, my heart goes out to you and your beautiful children. To some people, Jenny McCarthy may just be another celebrity speaking their mind, but she too is a warrior who has fought for her son, has had success and wants to help other families. I think it’s wonderful that she is speaking out about this and using her celebrity to do so- she’s giving this issue the attention it deserves and it’s about time! I don’t trust doctors for preventative medicine. I don’t vaccinate my children and I feel more comfortable taking my chances with the diseases than I do with the vaccines. These diseases were already on the decline before the introduction of vaccines thanks to more sanitary living conditions, by the way. Ask your doctor how much time in medical school was spent on studying vaccinations, you’ll be surprised by their answer if they answer you honestly.

Erin on

#1: It is a GENETIC disorder. It is not caused by a vaccine.

#2: The reason people assume/correlate the diagnosis of Autism with the vaccines given is because they happen at the same time. The age at which most vaccines are given is also the same time a lot of social skills should have or are currently coming online, and when children don’t begin to exhibit the social skills, a lot of parents look for the nearest scapegoat: vaccines.

#3: The only vaccine that still has the questionable chemical in it is the flu vaccine.

And before anyone goes off on me, yes, I have experience with persons with Autism, and my information comes from a professor who specializes in Autism and other disorders (Fragile X, etc).

Ella on

I know that people are looking for answers in this circumstance. I have a family member who was diagnosed with the most sever form (non-verbal, not toilet trained at 24, non-communicative) and my future children being diagnosed with this illness does make me very scared.
However, I find it offensive that people assume that the medical community (including non-affiliated doctors and researchers who have nothing to gain from one side or the other) is involved in some sort of conspiracy to harm their children. Let’s stop pretending that the opinions celebrities of any sort with no medical training should supersede the advice of our doctors just because we find it more convenient.
Interesting how people were so quick to criticize Jenny when she preached that she and her son were a more evolved human form “indigo people” as hogwash, but now that her ideas are more mainstream she’s cited like the Mayo Clinic.

Lis on

I am a behavioral therapist who works with an identical twin who has autism, his brother does not. Though 90% of identical twins where one is on the autism spectrum, the other will be too, that leaves 10%. This cannot be all genetics. Something environmental triggers the condition.

Ash on

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s responses, and I think most people here have made valid points. I think the bottom line is that we really don’t have an exact answer for why autism could be on the rise, and I do think it’s a rush to judgement to say that vaccines are definitely the cause. There are literally millions of other factors in the environment that could trigger autism in someone who is genetically predisposed. It could be anything from dioxins to pesticides… We just don’t know for sure. It warrants a lot more research.

I do agree, however, that children are given way too many vaccines at one time and common sense should tell you that isn’t a good idea. One “size” definitely doesn’t fit all, and it’s my opinion that doctors and scientists should be paying closer attention to that fact. My oldest nephew couldn’t walk for two whole weeks after he received his meningitis vaccine! It was a very scary time because we didn’t know if it would be a permanent side effect or not! Also, when my father was drafted into the Vietnam war, he actually knew other guys that died due to adverse reactions they suffered (apparently they put everyone through an “assembly line” where they were given one vaccine after another). Because of that experience, my dad has been preaching for many years that receiving too many vaccines at once is a dangerous thing. He recognized that before the issue even became mainstream. I think alternative vaccination schedules should be encouraged or even required.

Lisa on

“I admire her for raising awareness to Autism but I wish she would not compare it to childhood cancer, AIDS, or diabetes.
The latter diseases can result in death.”

She did not compare Autism to those diseases. She said that Autism is more common than those diseases combined.

Ash on

By the way, in regards to always listening to what your doctor says, I don’t think that’s necessarily a good idea in all cases. I’ve found that many doctors will give advice, not based on science, but rather based on opinion. Also, doctors can have different opinions on the same issue. The responses to the recent Melissa Joan Hart post are an excellent example. Someone asked about when it’s safe to take a newborn baby out of the house, and every Dr. seems to have a differing viewpoint on that (some say it’s fine to take the baby out right away and others say to wait a few weeks… who is right and who is wrong? Neither!). You can’t blindly trust medical professionals. They’re just regular people who are capable of making mistakes like the rest of us. I actually think it’s smarter for people to educate themselves and then weigh their own findings against that of their doctor’s. Or better yet, get a second and third opinion.

finnaryn on

Thoughts from a mother of three.

My first child had her first MMR when she was 13 months because of a measles outbreak in Seattle in 2001: http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=measles21m&date=20010221&query=measles

Because we lived in the neighborhood where there were at least 5 cases, our doctor recommended that she receive the vaccine early, with a booster at 18 months. She had her third MMR before she entered Kindergarten. For those who think that your risk in the US is low, remember that there is a great big world out there and not all countries have such low measles rates. In fact, as you can see in the article I posted: “four students at a school on Capitol Hill likely were infected by one student who visited South Korea, where 30,000 people have come down with the disease.”

I talked with our doctor this morning to get her opinion on vaccines. She has two kids of her own who are the same ages as my kids. She has had them vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. That is good enough for me. I trust her completely.

Renee on

Lis, I don’t think it has anything to do with vaccines and I’m more inclined to follow doctor orders and advice than Jenny’s. After all Doctors and Scientists have degrees in this and she is just going by rumours. If it involves the environment, it’s probably has something to do with whatever is in our food which no one ever brings up and the environment of where you live. If you read the labels of most food, most of us have no clue what certain ingredients are and what effects they have on our body. That’s partly why organic and natural foods are so popular now.No one knows what causes Autism and I don’t think Jenny had any business acting like she does. If someone chooses not to vaccinate their kids,they should not be allowed in schools.It’s too big of risk. Why? Because it’s safer to get vaccinated than the alternative. But I do urge parents to talk to their doctors before following advice from the Internet. Also, don’t believe everything you hear about without having actual proof. From what I read it sounds like most of you who are anti-vaccines are going off rumours and speculation.

Suz on

You may be able to prevent autism but it is not possible to cure autism. Perhaps what her son suffered from was not autism and if he was *cured* of whatever it was because of Jenny that is a good thing but be careful about giving hope to parents of autism sufferers.

I have an ASD on

Jenifer and Tiff- ITA! I, like Jenifer’s son, have an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I definently do not “suffer” from a “diabilitating diease”. I am actually very happy with my life. In fact, I don’t wish it was any different! I’m not saying I’m glad I have an ASD, but I do not mind having it, and am perfectly happy depsite having it.

Like Tiff, I believe that Autism and ASDs are genetic disorders. I’m not saying vaccines don’t play any part whatsoever in triggering it (though, I personally, don’t believe that vaccines triggered my ASD). What I am saying is that I don’t think vaccines actually cause Autism. I think that, like Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, PKU, etc., it’s genetics that actually cause Autism and ASDs.

Lexie on

I work within autism care, and additionally, have an autistic Godson. I have seen the change in a child from autism, and I believe that anyone making a comment on it that either seeks to disparage a parent and/or carer, or dismiss their opinions in a flippant, arrogant or patronising way (as I have seen while reading through these comments) is repulsive. People are entitled to their opinions (on both sides of the argument), but I politely request that respect is shown to the people fighting for the children and their futures.

Parents of children with autism are not saying these things just for the sake of it. This is not fun and it is not a game. Let me tell you right now (just in case it wasn’t already clear), recieving a diagnosis of this kind is completely devastating, and for parents to be dismissed by people who are either ignorant or just closeminded is repulsive.

Like I said, I feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion on this matter, but I’m disappointed to see that it still appears that those who think that the MMR (and other jabs) is not dangerous can not at least have the respect for the fantastic parents who are raising beautiful children whose lives are made difficult, arguably because of something that is supposed to make their lives better.

As for Jenny, all power to her. She has fought back for her beautiful boy and at the same time has fought for other children and their parents. I would like to say how grateful we, as the parents and carers of children with autism (who do not have as public a voice as she does), are for her efforts and dedication. I wish Evan and his family all the best for the future, and the same to the parents who have posted on this board.

Mel on

Katie, I pray your children do not get autism and I also pray that you are forgiven for being so judgmental. You have never been in my shoes and had to see your child suffer like I have. You should want all vaccines to be safe for ALL children. Don’t twist my words. I have never said people should not vaccinate. But NO child should be collateral damage for the greater good. All children should be safe. If you don’t agree with that then there is something wrong with you. Children are born with titers from their mother and can be born immune but doctors do not check for that. Did you realize that you may give your child three Hep B vaccines and they still may NOT be immune? That is just the average to make someone immune. Why not tailor to to each individual child?? I want my child well but I also do not want any mother to have to go through what I go through. Don’t pick a fight with me about this. Nobody wants disease but I can promise you, you sure as hell do not want autism either.

Kayla on

I DO NOT have a child with Autism. I took the time to read everyone one of your comments and all I can say is that I truly 100% applaud the parents that do have children with this disorder. Emotionally, Physically and FINANCIALLY this has got to take a toll on your life (marriage, career, friendships)and yet like someone said “YOU GET up every morning to fight for your child to be heard”…

I hope and pray every day that we are closer to answers.

God Bless
Kayla

MAC on

To the other parents who like us, struggle with our son’s Autism, please don’t get caught up arguing with people who are not compassionate. The naysayer’s who say that vaccines have nothing to do with this epidemic, have a hidden agenda – they are protecting the medical establishment’s BIG mistake.

This is all going to come out in due time, and hopefully much faster with the pending litigation in Vaccine Court. The government finally conceded that there is a connection, and that is the start. Where one of the problem’s proving the connection, has been a lack of funds for studies and that is changing. The medical community can no longer play dumb and lie to parents anymore, we just will not accept the B***S*** anymore.

The medical community is quick to say there is no connection, but they have no reasoning on why a normal developing child would make a complete reversal of development and personality. Why? Because they made a BIG mistake, and they are trying, with the support of the government who mandates the vaccination schedule to cover up this major disaster. Here are a few points’…

1. Why did congress try to pass legislation that would drop all lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry and indemnify them? Senator Frisk and Senator Army where pushing this at the eleventh hour, to try to slip it in. It failed.

2. Why do so many Doctor’s have conflicts of interest and own stock, options or get paid for studies that the pharmaceutical industry funds? Why have there not been more studies to prove that vaccines are safe, before they are made mandatory? The answer is that they are making a TON of MONEY, there are no third party independent studies. The pharmaceutical industry controls all studies, and they cater to doctors. I know, my wife is in the medical profession.

3. Why is there even a Vaccine Court, think about that? Because the government
acknowledges that people do get vaccine injured, and it was setup to protect the vaccine program.

4. Why after the most current ruling in Vaccine Court, the government will not release all the details – what are they hiding? This should be public record,
and must be disclosed. Here the government again, is deceiving parents of very sick children and doing a disservice. All records of this magnitude must be open to the public. There should be an uproar why the court sealed the records, don’t you think? The parents are willing to disclose, but the
government will not allow it.

5. Why did so many of us get sick when vaccinated, which I saw when I was in
the Military? Because the human body is getting bombarded, and can’t handled it – now think about giving all that to a developing baby? It does not make any sense, unless you think of all the money involved.

For further thought…

I don’t need to listen to people who want to lecture me about what my son and family haven been through, it is a waste of my time and anyone who is fighting this disorder. I always have believed America is compassionate, but I also have to remind myself that much of it is based on a system of greed.

This profitable relationship between the pharmaceutical industry, is just like the one you’re reading about in the current news about FFA and the Airline Industry safety. The government has a very LONG history of lying to the Public; this matter is no different and will come out with the proper litigation. They are not going to admit anything, it is going to have to be forced out of them…and I promise that parents like myself, are leading the charge.

By the way, my son will soon turn 9 and I have been involved in the Autism fight to be heard for the last 7 years. I told my wife, many years ago that it would take powerful people (Congressman Weldon, Senator Burton) famous people (Jenny, etc.) that this would unfortunately happen to their child, where you would see the change of public opinion. And change is coming quickly…My son is one of the first cases in Vaccine Court, and if we lose, we plan on taking it even further. Supreme Court if it goes that far.

For those of you out there, like us, keep fighting and don’t let anyone say otherwise (they don’t know what they are talking about). We are not EVER going away, EVER!

Michael, for Alexander and so many Others…I will be your voice.

Ash on

MAC-

I loved reading your post! You sound like a wonderful parent and kudos to you for taking such a stand like that! I don’t blindly trust the government or medical professionals either which is why I stated in my post above that parents shouldn’t be so quick to just believe everything they’re told. I know people who are or have been pharmaceutical sales reps, and you wouldn’t believe the stories I’ve heard. It’s common knowledge that doctors will even sleep with sales reps just to close business deals. It’s disgusting and a huge conflict of interest. I mean, who are doctors serving- the pharmaceutical industry that gives them kickbacks or their patients? Unfortunately there are corrupt people out there, and you always have to keep your guard up (I have some more experiences that back up my skepticism like how my father’s cardiologist prescribed him Vytorin which caused my dad to start losing sensation in his feet! Sure enough, after doing some research, I found out that many patients who have taken Vytorin have exhibited symptoms of ALS! Isn’t that something the doctor should have known?).

Anyway, I find it interesting how you noticed the vaccine problems when you were in the military. My dad saw other men die because of it when he was in the Vietnam war.

mark on

I believe there is are viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and other things in our environment that react differently in every person. For one person it may be autism, the other it may be chronic fatigue, for another it may be diabetes. It depends on the individuals weakest link and how his body responds to the trigger. I think it is spreading as evidenced by the rise in medical costs and premiums lately at an alarming rate. Everybody is going to the doctor to figure out why they are feeling so lousy. Drs just do what they were trained to do. prescribe drugs. They don’t have any real treatments for the underlying cause. this just exaserbates things.

I have had chronic fatigue for about 20 years. I am now 35 years old. I have many problems. including depression, anxiety, allergies, tinitus, difficulty concentrating. For the next person may get fat and irratable and depressed. It may be the same virus or whatever, but the fact is we need real cures, not just B.S.

I think we need to focus on cures and forget the drugs. This needs to be dealt with now!

DDG on

One of my pet peeves is somebody using misleading statistics and also when people act like isolated incedents are absolute proof that a certain treatment is effective. To start, the fact that autism is more common that AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined is somewhat of a no-brainer since these illnesses are known as something that onset later in life and are (arguably in the case of cancer and diabetes) caused by actions of the person. The 1 in 150 statistic for children with autism is somewhat misleading since “autism” has such a wide range of severity, there are many people who are borderline “autistic” who may be very functioning, but can still be put into this group.

It is great that she found something that worked for her child, but she asks why all of the big government agencies have not been banging down her door. Well, there is the possibility that her child was misdiagnosed, which by itself is not a reason to overlook the case. The thing that makes it easy to overlook is that there is no way of verifying what she did or the progression of the child in hindsight. Case studies, by their nature, often fall short because they may be biased (which is likely when you have already decided what caused the problem), and are based on the memory of the person being interviewed.

I feel that the use of vaccines are essential and that getting vaccines early is a good practice. Many of these diseases do not skip over children just because they are young. I have a son who is 4 months old and would be deeply saddened if I were told that he had a serious illness such as autism. It would be worse yet if I found out that it was preventable, so it is not that I have no empathy for those who are touched by this malady. I do think, however, that spreading fear about vaccines is probably not the best rout to take, since they prevent many terrible diseases. From my understanding, it was somewhat common to loose a child or children to the diseases that we are now able to prevent, so if a much smaller number of children are injured to a lesser degree than if we did nothing, are we doing the right thing? I think so. It is certainly something worth researching, without a question, but in the meantime, I would hate to see a large portion of children count on “herd immunity” and have a huge outbreak of these diseases.

Tom on

Lets take all this energy we have on these Bulletin Boards and go out and really make an impact. Jenny is just one person and she talks alot about mothers when there are many of fathers involved. My hats off to her but WE ALL need to do our part.

PSB on

For those fighting against aggressive vaccine schedules – keep fighting the good fight! I am vacinating my son at a slower rate. He is 26 months old now and has had one or more of each of the major vaccines, but not the MMR. I am waiting until he turns three to give him this one. He has some slight sensory issues and I don’t want anything to push him over the edge into Autism, so I’m not taking the chance. I am hoping his immune system will be developed enough at three to handle the MMR.

I personally think that the government has a long history of lying to the public. What would they gain from telling the truth at this point when so many kid have already been hurt? They’d just get sued. Big Pharma would go under. I personally think we won’t know the truth for many years.

For the poster named MARK – have you been checked for hypothyroidism? The symptoms you described are EXACTLY the same as that. In fact, many people believe CFS doesn’t really exist and that it’s actually just hypothyroidism. I have it and I can tell you it is highly genetic and while it can never be cured, you can get it under control. Get your TSH level checked and if they are over 3.0, then insist on being given synthroid or another synthetic hormone therapy.

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